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June, 2004
Slash Answers Your Questions
Guitar World June 2004 Issue

He helped change the face of hard rock with Guns Ní Roses, and now heís back with the star-studded Velvet Revolver. But what fans really want to know is . . .

The ďSweet Child Oí MineĒ opening riff mangles my fingers every time I try to learn it. Do you use some kind of secret technique?
-Matthew Steele

Thereís no secret technique. Thatís just my pick-up-a-guitar-and-fuck-around-with-it style of playing. The riff started out as a stupid exercise that I noodled around with nearly every time I picked up a guitar. I donít really know how to practice properly, so I like to make up things that are difficult to play, so that I can become better at what I do.

Anyway, I must have played that riff a million times. Then one day, while I was playing it, Izzy (Stradlin, former Guns Ní Roses guitarist) started playing some chords, and it just took off! I think that just goes to show the value of doing things on the guitar that get you out of the box.

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I can never seem to get that heavily accented wah sound that I closely associate with you and Kirk Hammett. Is your wah pedal tweaked?
-David Zamora

When I did Appetite for Destruction I had a stock Cry Baby. Now I own Dunlop wahs that are fully adjustable: you can decide where the wah starts and ends and make the high end sing longer or the low end more guttural. But to be honest, I donít use those features very much. Besides, you can definitely get a good wah sound without them.

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Is it true that you donít know scales?
-Marcelo Dutra

Although I was never properly schooled in scales, over the years Iíve learned what a scale is and how to put together a series of notes that sound harmonically correct. But there are a lot of players whose technical knowledge is far superior to mine Ė guys that have a good grasp of music theory and apply it to their playing all the time. I canít do that, but I do know how to take a basic scale and change the notes around to suit my needs. I also know how to play major, minor and pentatonic scales all the way up the neck, but thatís about as complicated as I get.

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Have you ever felt like beating the crap out of Buckethead?
-Dan Delgado

No. I donít see any reason why I would. At this point I have a hard time even accepting Buckethead is real. Iíve never met him.

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How did making the Velvet Revolver album, Contraband, push you as a guitarist?
-Sean Gallagher

Making the album forced me to adapt to new ways of making music. Iíd never written with those guys before, and their writing influences are different from mine. As a result, our writing took all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. Everything was done in the most spontaneous way, and that forced me to adapt quickly from my usual way of doing things. For years before Velvet Revolver, I would just jump onstage and jam with anyone, and that helped me learn t adapt to all kinds of musical situations. I feel that it really paid off with Velvet Revolver. My playing on Contraband may not be my most over-the-top, but itís definitely some of my best ever.

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Who are some of your more obscure guitar inspirations?
-Shawn Henry

I like the Pretendersí James Honeyman-Scott; the Carsí Elliot Easton, who is one of the best lead players of the last 25 years; Joe Walsh, whoís one of the best rock and roll guitar players of all time; and the Sex Pistolsí Steve Jones. Iím also a fan of Elvis Presleyís guitarist Scotty Moore and (surf-rock guitarist) Dick Dale Ė to this day I havenít had the balls to sit down and learn one of his songs. And I shouldnít forget David Lindley, who played with Jackson Browne for years. It might surprise some people to hear me say it, but the dude is incredible.

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The solo on ďSerial Killer,Ē from the Slashís Snakepit album Ainít Life Grand, doesnít sound like anything you would play, with arpeggios and flat-out shredding instead of pentatonic phrases. Is that someone else playing, or is it a secret side of yourself that youíve kept hidden?
-Brian Ingold

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Thatís me. The songís riff just took on a life on its own, and the solo was basically appropriated from it. Sometimes the music tells me to take a left turn here or there, and I go with it.

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If you could record an album with one other guitarist, alive or dead, who would it be?
-Brandon Moore

Iíve played with Keith Richards and would love to take that further. And it would be great to jam with Joe Walsh. But when I think of people I would love to jam with, I usually think of great rhythm sections rather than guitar players. Great lead guitar players usually donít need another lead player around.

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You look healthier now then ever before. Have you changed your lifestyle, and if so, has this affected your playing?
-Saul Bailey

I donít spend time chasing dealers around anymore. After a while that kind of lifestyle becomes a drag. For me, it became a burden and a pain in the ass rather than something that was fun and exciting, so I just stopped. As a result, I spend more time focused on guitar, and I have more energy to devote to it.

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Do you have an overwhelming desire to kick Axl in the nads?
-Dom Segretti

At this point, anything that goes on between me and Axl is personal, and Iíd rather leave it at that. Thanks.

Thanks Gypsy!


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